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Ilona Kemeling

Senior Data Consultant

Full of good ideas and anticipation, I walk out of Rotterdam Central Station. Immediately I look up at the sky and, as it usually does in this spot, the feeling of being dwarfed by the tall buildings washes over me. But this time I know I can actually go inside one of them, because the Arcadis office is here, inside the Delftse Poort. Located on the 8th and 9th floors, it is not quite at the top on the 20th, yet still high enough to provide a great view and make me feel suitably proud to be there. Today I am there so I can tell you about one of our Dutch digital services — our global IT department.

The word IT immediately makes me think of the classic response to every IT problem "Have you tried turning it off and on again?" from the well-known British comedy show The IT Crowd. At Arcadis, we want to be much more ambitious in this regard, working with our experts in the field to create value for our customers.

The first thing that strikes me about the enthusiastic and experienced group of managers is their diversity. I see far fewer white people over forty than I am used to. For years, I have been one of just a few women at conferences and meetings on the subject of technology in our industry. Yet this team has people of different ages and from different continents — and half of them are women.

Digital Twins in Practice
In the afternoon session, Dutch departments explain the digital services Arcadis offers in our country. For example, discussion of Dashboards and Digital Twins is increasing, both among asset managers and our own program managers. Digital Twins is a platform that combines, enriches and visualizes data sources, delivering new insights and enabling customers to make better decisions.

Gas Extraction Plants
Program manager Harry Venema and I present a practical example of a Digital Twin, namely the one we built for the decommissioning of the NAM gas extraction plants. This 3D environment makes it possible to dismantle the plants properly, safely and at the lowest possible cost. Digital Twins make data and information accessible and understandable in the context of the plant.

The Arcadis team and its partners use Digital Twins in the day-to-day implementation of projects, for safety and volume calculations. Harry and I both expect international demand to increase for digitally assisted services for use in decommissioning gas and oil plants.

A Living Virtual Twin
In practice, I note that clients appreciate the value of Digital Twins. They provide a detailed, dynamic, almost living copy of reality. You can walk around your project virtually and start thinking about how to tackle difficult parts of the process ahead of time. You can also take colleagues with you to explain what you mean, without having to contend with restricted access to the actual site on a visit — in this case to the most northeasterly tip of our country.

We are currently using Digital Twins to support work processes and our clients, partners and colleagues have access to the same virtual environment. Digital Twins help us work efficiently and ensure that we give informed, data-driven advice.

In future, I expect we will increasingly use Digital Twins on projects. I think they are a valuable part of our approach and easy to use. And since my presentation, I know that more colleagues think the same.